Money Worries Can Affect the Health of Cancer Patients' Partners

Medscape Staff

May 24, 2023

The financial impact of a loved one's colorectal cancer diagnosis also affects the partner's health-related quality of life, according to cancer care delivery researchers at the Rogel Cancer Center and the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

What to Know

  • The financial strain of a cancer diagnosis as patients cope with the cost of treatment and lost work extends to caregivers or partners.

  • A survey of patient-partner pairs of couples in which the patients had been treated from 1 to 5 years earlier for stage III colorectal cancer found a decrease in quality of life among the partners resulting from financial toxicity.

  • A third of partners had high financial worry that increased the more they lost income or missed work, and 29% of partners reported debt related to the cancer diagnosis and treatment. Almost two thirds of partners reported financial burden because of the illness.

  • Financial toxicity was linked to changes in physical function, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, social roles, activities, and pain, Partners reported extra emotional spending, disrupted social lives, having to ask family and friends for help with medical expenses, and worry over what could have been had they not had insurance.

  • Of partners who were working full or part time when the patient was diagnosed, 39% missed from 1 week to 1 month of work, and 38% said they lost income because of the person ' s cancer.

This is a summary of the article, "Financial Toxicity and Its Association With Health-Related Quality of Life Among Partners of Colorectal Cancer Survivors," published in JAMA Open Network on April 6, 2023. The full article can be found on

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